BUDA, Texas — The Friday night lights are king at football games across Texas, but Hays CISD educators also want to shed light on another issue: the opioid epidemic.
The district is partnering with the Texas High School Coaches Association to launch the "Coaches vs. Overdoses" program, which is designed to raise awareness for parents, team stakeholders and student-athletes.
The district is offering electronic educational materials and distributing a drug disposal tool at the varsity football games. Hays CISD Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright said the district was asked to pilot the program.
"Unfortunately, we lost four students last year right before school started and it kind of hit home [for] us," Wright said. "So we don't like to be known for this, but we do like to educate our students, our parents in the community and the dangers that, you know, one pill can kill."
Hays CISD Athletic Director Lance Moffett has firsthand knowledge of what it is like to lose an athlete unexpectedly, as it occurred at another school he worked at.
"One of the things I learned in this program is that typically the opioid addiction starts from leftover opioids in a medicine cabinet. And so, previous to this, I had a kid that was on hydrocodone for a knee injury and it led to more serious situations, and [he] ended up overdosing and passing away," Moffett said.
The district will implement the program later in the season at another varsity home football game at Hays High School. As the Texas High School Coaches Association prepares to launch "Coaches vs. Overdoses" statewide in October, Wright hopes these efforts resonate beyond the classroom.
"Education is our mission and, obviously, we want to safeguard them. We want them to have bright futures," Wright said.
Check out the program's "Prevention Playbook."